Area communities are banding together to help the family of Jesse Moll.
He died last Tuesday afternoon after the 2007 Dodge Durango he was driving collided with a Reliable Sanitation garbage truck driven by 38-year-old Steven Leible II of Waterloo on Route 156.
Jesse was traveling eastbound when he veered off the roadway to the right and overcorrected to the left, police said, colliding with the garbage truck.
Monroe County Coroner Bob Hill pronounced Moll dead at the scene, while Leible sustained minor injuries.
Friends and family of the 37-year-old Red Bud man said he was known for his kindness.
“He was extra caring,” Vanessa Moll, Jesse’s wife, said. “We’d go out to the grocery store, and I’d turn around and he’d be helping an elderly lady out with her groceries. He was always there to help people. He was an amazing father. He did anything for his kids.”
That niceness came despite a difficult childhood that saw Jesse move around between relatives, children’s homes and foster homes.
That lack of a family shaped Jesse’s priorities as an adult.
“His biggest goal in life was to have a family, and that’s what we had,” Vanessa said. “When I met Jesse, I had my son, Anthony, and he was only 4 going on 5. Jesse raised him and now he’s 15. Jesse was the father Tony never had.”
“My favorite quote that Jesse told us and our kids was ‘I love you more than my heart can hold,’” she added. “He would say that every day.”
In addition to Vanessa, Jesse is survived by their children Anthony Rodriguez, Alayna Moll and Abel Moll; sister Carly Hamilton and many other relatives and friends.
Many of those friends come from Sun Basket at Rock City in Valmeyer, where Moll worked as a junior operator. He was leaving work when he died.
Finding a job like the one at Sun Basket was one of Jesse’s chief goals.
“He struggled because my husband had a lot of tattoos, so it was hard for him to get a job,” Vanessa said. “When he got into Sun Basket, it was like he found his home.
“I know the day he left this earth, he was really happy because he had finally found a comfortable job,” she continued. “We were starting to get back on our feet. We had the kids. Everybody was happy. We just moved into a new house that was a little bit bigger so our kids could have more space.”
Jesse had other interests, but family was paramount in his life.
“He loved the Chicago Bears,” Hamilton, his older sister, said. “He absolutely loved being with his family. They were his whole world.”
Although his family was so important to him, Jesse’s kindness extended far enough to make a much greater impact.
Now, the community is helping his family through numerous fundraisers.
Several of those are led by Stephanie Baker, a friend of the Molls.
“Vanessa called me whenever she was told about the accident,” Baker said. “When she did find out (Jesse died), you could just feel how scared she was. She said, ‘Stephanie, I don’t know what I’m going to do. What am I going to do?’ So I was thinking in my head, ‘Well, it’s time to get working. We’re going to help Vanessa out.’”
Baker’s efforts are wide-ranging. She has placed donation buckets for the family at Gibson’s Discount Drugs and the dollar store in Red Bud. They are filled almost every day.
Country Financial and The Clothes Line Boutique in Waterloo are also accepting donations.
She set up a bank account at First Bank called the Vanessa Moll Family Fund so people could donate that way.
She also started a Facebook fundraiser that has raised $880. To find the link for that, visit the Republic-Times Facebook page.
“It just completely caught like wildfire,” Baker said of the fundraising efforts. “There were so many people that Jess made a difference in their lives. People were trying to find me to see what they could do. It was amazing.”
Some of those other people have also started efforts of their own.
Approximately 100 Sun Basket employees came to Jesse’s memorial visitation Friday, all of whom donated.
Love Abby, a Randolph County nonprofit that supports children by providing for basic needs like school supplies, basic hygiene items and Christmas gift, also helped raise funds.
Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio in Hecker performed piercings for $20 on Sunday afternoon, with all proceeds and tips going to the Moll family.
Chelsea Moore, a body piercer and tattoo artist who created the fundraiser, said she pierced about 50 people that afternoon.
“I was really heartbroken to hear about Jesse’s passing,” Moore, an old friend of Jesse’s, said. “He was always so sweet and kind. With his outward appearance, maybe it’s shocking to people that he would be so sweet and kind. He was a good friend to me, and I love his family so I just wanted to do something to help.”
In addition, the Red Bud school district held fundraisers at both its schools, getting more than $1,300.
Finally, Waterloo Lumber Co., where Vanessa works, donated a deep freezer filled with food.
“My work family has been amazing through all of this,” Vanessa said. “I couldn’t be more honored to work at a better place. Everybody has been awesome, but my boss has been outstanding for my family.”
Hamilton said the assistance overall has been invaluable.
“He always said nobody would come to his funeral,” she remembered. “It’s amazing that so many people do care. It’s overwhelming for us and it’s helping us all get through this.”
With the outpouring of support, Baker said she hopes to use the money to buy a modest car to replace the one Jesse was driving in the accident. That was the only one the family owned.
“Even if we didn’t raise this amount of money, which is so awesome, just the support that they’ve had during all this has changed everything,” Baker said. “It’s hard enough to deal with losing the most important person in your life on the week of his birthday and three weeks before Christmas, but when you see so many people that care about you and him, nobody can feel bad about that.”